Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Michael Jordan Supports Sweatshops with Child Labor

One of the ways professional athletes make big bucks is by lending their name and image to some company to sell products. These testimonials say, “I vouch for this product. It is good. If you use this product you can be like me.” In the advertising industry they call these endorsement contracts, “giving a face to the product.” Michael Jordan is the prime example. He has been so successful with Nike that Nike has split out the Jordan endorsement portion in a separate company called Jordan Productions.

We like Michael Jordan. We think he is a good guy. He made us feel good with his basketball prowess. He also seems to be a really nice individual. Any company Michael Jordan represents surely acts like Michael Jordan does. How could Michael Jordan endorse slave and child labor? The situation is so bad that the production facilities have been subjected to four strikes in the last 12 months. I thought Michael Jordan was a Christian guy. He has kids. Would he want his children working in sweatshops?

Nike, a true success story, makes profits by using sweatshops and child labor. Their human rights abuses have been well documented over the past four years. Currently Nike is in a major public relations campaign designed to clean its tainted image. They say they have made great progresses but have a strict policy of paying market wages instead of paying a living wage. They also admit that their facilities, in communist Vietnam, use child labor.

Michael Jordan therefore not only supports but, endorses the use of sweatshops and child labor.

What does Michael Jordan’s lack of moral fortitude have to do with American Politics?

Michael Jordan is the perfect example of why Reaganomics must be eliminated and government given back to the citizens of the United States of America. A person that we consider good, in the name of a corporation, does culturally unacceptable things for money. He convinces himself that he is separated from the actual wrongdoing and finds solace in “not knowing” or not having the capacity to change what is going on. If he does not accept the endorsement then someone else will and he will lose a lot of money.

Companies have only one purpose. That is: make money. They cannot be expected to do anything other than greedily chase the latest money making scheme. If they can find a way to game the system they will. They do not care about humanity or the long term viability of a country. They will just move somewhere else and continue exploiting the system. They will fight tooth and nail to keep their end user markets open to the new junk they produce in some undeveloped country where they can use child labor or employ dangerous materials without safeguards. They do not care if children receive an education. They do not care whether or not people die from starvation or lack of medical care. They do not take any responsibility when people die working, producing their products.

Companies cannot be expected to express a country’s values unless the country’s values are greed and world domination. If companies do not have the same values as the citizens of a country then companies have no role in government.

I want to believe that Michael Jordan has not consciously decided to sell out his image to a company that employs child and slave labor. Just as I want to think that Mr. Jordan just has not thought about the correlation of Nike’s actions and his image, I believe that most Americans do not realize that the actions of Coca Cola, Dow, GE, Exxon, and McDonalds represent America.

Extremist groups that hate America or plot against America are not really upset with Joe Worker. They are upset with the immorality and greed expressed by US corporations. Whether we like it or not, America defined by what these corporations do.

Our government talks about using the military to protect US interests across the world. Our soldiers die and the treasury is depleted to guarantee that Nike, Walmart or Exxon can exploit world poverty. I see no difference in the actions of companies moving production facilities to China than Sex tourists who travel the world to find places where they can indulge any desire that may be prohibited in the US.

Michael Jordan may offer his image to a sex tourist but I believe that a majority of Americans do not want to be associated with child prostitution, child labor, slavery, unsafe or deadly working environments.

Since companies, by their statute, cannot encompass these values it is our responsibility, as Americans, to conform corporations and their executives to the values of the nation. Companies must be regulated and controlled. They must be held responsible for their actions and their movements controlled and limited.

Perhaps the best response to a global unrest would be restricting US corporations instead of threatening military action.

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